30 April, 2015. 11:50
IMRAN GASHKORI | World Sport | Contact
In a week of power plays from both ends, the much-anticipated “Fight Of The Century” between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. gets more and more interesting by the minute.
A bizarre relationship has been unveiled in the final days before the May 2nd bout: The friendship between Manny Pacquiao and comedy icon, Bill Murray.
Aside from celebrity friends, even the most recluse boxing greats are coming out of the shadows and speaking up about this imminent and surely spectacular moment in the history of world sport.
Social media is running rife and Mayweather‘s PR machine is well-greased, with superstars of all shapes and sizes lending their names to #TeamFloyd. While continuing the “Money Mayweather” narrative, there is no doubt on may 2nd he will once again enter the ring flanked by his superstar friends.
Namely, Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne.
Pacquiao however, is attracting just as much attention through his low-key preparations.
Choosing to avoid the media circus entirely and giving no response to Mayweather’s public taunts, Pacquiao has only been met with very few “close friends” since landing in the USA earlier this week.
The humble Filipino has waited ten years for this fight and has even offered to to do it for charity. With the showdown dominating headlines – Manny Pacquaio has surprised all by the company he is keeping in this epic lead-up.
So far, his small list of visitors has included: Keanu Reeves, Mark Wahlberg, Shannon Lee (daughter of Bruce Lee) and last but not least… Bill Murray.
The relationship between the two is well-documented, with Murray often visiting Pacquiao during his frequent trips to The Phillipines (see below)
Further to this close friendship, Pacquiao states he grew up idolising Bill Murray – something that was clarified in a media conference this morning.
Today it was reported that Manny Pacquiao has formally invited the 64-year-old Bill Murray to work his corner this weekend to offer much needed levity during the bout.
Mayweather spoke to ESPN this morning about many things, including the new inclusion to his small team of trainers and close friends.
“I have been a fan of Mr. Murray since I was a young child,”
“He has shown love over the years and I count on this kind of support in moments like this,”
Bill Murray has not clarified whether or not his will accept Pacquiao’s generous invitation but has stated he is one very honoured to have been asked.
“I am shocked, excited and very proud. As an age-old boxing fan, I would love nothing more than to say Manny will win by knock out,”
“So far, Mayweather’s career has been a bit like Groundhog Day (laughter). I am hoping for something a bit more like Ghostbusters. [Pacquiao] is Dr. Peter Venkman and Mayweather is nothing more than a ghost of what could have been if this fight happen ten years ago,”
“I hope Floyd’s idea of victory is lost in translation. Even as a proud American, my heart has always been with the Filipino.”
“The Fight Of The Century” will, for several hours, stop millions upon millions in every corner of the world.
The international boxing community has extended far beyond gyms and halls, with the potential audience growing from 16.5 million addressable homes to nearly 100 million, according to Pay-Per-View.
As for who to pick, have a look at who the celebrity experts are backing.